Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Saturday, stormy, conditions that churned up the bay (photo) did not faze our local Peregrine Falcon. She was on her usual perch near the top of a tall dead Cypress, located behind the Back Bay Inn. She can usually be seen on this perch both morning and afternoon.

Yesterday, watched her swoop down on a group of feeding shorebirds. She sped off with a medium sized bird in her deadly grip. The speed of a Peregrine Falcon is astounding. The entire episode lasted only a few seconds. (rear view of Peregrine on her lofty perch)

Saturday, January 14, 2012


The Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival is in full swing. Yesterday Tom Edell and Curtis Marantz identified an Arctic Loon (Gavia arctica) feeding in the pond at the mouth of San Simeon Creek. The Arctic Loon (photo by Maggie Smith) is an extremely rare visitor to the California Coast. The internet nearly had a meltdown with all the Loon chat.

About 11:00 this morning I dropped by festival headquarters. I enjoy looking at the scopes and dreaming about owing one some day (probably in my next life). Starting talking with a fellow birder and in a matter of moments we were on the road to San Simeon.

I just love birds that are easy to see, and this marvelous Loon was in full view in the middle of the pond. It sat low in the water and dove with ease. Fortunately it was oblivious to the photographers and birdwatchers that lined the pond.

Other attractions at San Simeon - A huge flock of Ringed-billed Gulls, 30 Black-belllied Plovers and, on the gravely beach an active flock of 30-40 Snowy Plovers; they were bathing and chasing flies. I had not seen one in over a year and seeing the little darlings was a real treat.

Yes, 2012 is going to be a great year for birding.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Entered the Bob Jones hiking, biking trail near Avila Sewer Plant. I was hoping for Hooded Merganser. From the bridge that crosses the creek saw 4 female and 2 male Hooded Merganser. They were in diving mode. Every time they went under they came up with a small fish.

About half a mile up the creek were 3 Common Goldeneye. The golf course is between the trail and the creek, but once past the golf course, the creek is easy to view. In many areas along the creek the reeds and brush overhanging the creek provide habitat for the Green Heron. I was watching a Goldeneye dive when I saw movement across the creek - a Green Heron was darting around a pile of rocks. Nearby, watching the action, was a female Kingfisher perched on a half submerged tire.

Other birds of note Steller's Jay, Oak Titmouse, and Black-crowned Night-Heron. The Night Heron was perched at the very top of a tall Sycamore (photo). I think she wanted to get away from the busy trail. 2012 is going to be a great year for birding.